To keep in shape I’ve been taking walks and riding my bike a lot. It’s easy, because I live near a very long rails-to-trails trail network. On a nice day parts of the trail are as busy as I-75 in rush hour–jammed with walkers, joggers and bikers happy to get out of the house for a bit. Oh, those folks seem happy enough, but the happiest creatures have to be the dogs.
With nothing much else to do, dog owners seem to be walking their pets like crazy. I’ve seen one of my neighbors walk her little Lhasa apso a half-dozen times a day and it expresses its joy by peeing against our mailboxes as if it’s unleashing pent up outside potty time. Another guy’s husky can’t seem to believe its good luck to get to take long, long strolls–maybe the longest of its life, almost every day!
I was on my bike yesterday along a section of the trail and kept passing a gentleman with a medium sized dog I can’t identify. Both the guy and the dog had the kind of grins one might break into after sticking a straw in a vat of hot fudge and sucking in. When I stopped for a little rest on a pedestrian bridge, the dog, which was not on a leash, ambled over to me and gave me a little “hey mister” kinda bark. I’m thinking, this dog is probably on his second or third walk of the day and has no idea how his luck suddenly has changed over the past month. In the spirit of social distancing I didn’t attempt to pet him but we exchanged friendly words.
The coronavirus pandemic is a terrible reason for anything to happen, but I’ve gotta think all the extra exercise, fresh air and expanded poop and pee opportunities for the world’s dogs is a silver lining in this dark cloud, although I’m sure some dogs, with very short legs have a very different opinion.
While I’m anxious for the crisis to come to an end and some of the restrictions on our movements to be lifted, I sort feel bad for the dogs. Will the fun of multiple walks a day end? Will their humans go back to binging Netflix instead of taking them out as many times? If I was a dog, I’d make sure I gave off as many vibes as possible to let my human know I want this to be our new normal. Lotsa appreciative licks and tail wagging. Off the couch, and on the trail, lazybones! Leash me up and let’s get walking!
I must add, though, I do not believe everything I’ve just said applies to cats. Cats are different. I imagine they’re watching their humans putting on their walking shoes, heading for the door and the cat just thinking, “just go already.”